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Illinois Librarians Fight Porn Filters with Internet Shutdown

Smith and Varenhorst decry a planned protest by Illinois librarians against HB 1727 that will use public funds and facilities to advance private political goals.


Contact: David E. Smith, 773-858-6602, www.illinoisfamily.org; Denise Varenhorst, 770-932-9994, www.fflibraries.org


GLEN ELLYN, Ill., May 14 /Christian Newswire/ -- Taxpayers are footing the bill for a planned protest by Illinois librarians against a proposed internet filtering bill. On May 8th, the Illinois Library Association (ILA) issued an "action request" calling for a coordinated protest against the Internet filtering bill, HB 1727, recommending that all public libraries in the state to obstruct Internet access on Monday, May 14th. 


The American Library Association (ALA) and its state chapter, the ILA, are private organizations with no governing authority over local libraries. Despite this, many local library directors have pledged publicly to carry out the protest, posting details of their plans on a message board at www.illinoislibraryday.info.  


"This is a denial of service to the taxpayer public for an extremist agenda that the public does not support," said David E. Smith, executive director of the Illinois Family Institute and a leading proponent of HB 1727.


According to the message board, Danville, Flora, Brookfield, Chillicothe, Walnut, Palestine, Sheffield, and Wyoming public libraries in Illinois have all announced their intention to disconnect Internet access on May 14th. Other libraries appear to be using taxpayer resources, including staff time, printers, fax machines, paper, and library computers to lobby against the legislation within library branches. 


Smith said he was taken aback by the audacity of the ILA's protest directive, calling it, "near hysteria."  He said, "The ALA and the ILA, in their protest of HB 1727, are not only wildly exaggerating the effects of Internet filtering with this stunt, but are outright misleading the public about the bill's intent.  A main ALA argument is that filtering technology doesn't work.  Yet experts agree that filters are about 95% effective in blocking unwanted sites, while providing full access to legitimate websites." 


Denise Varenhorst, president of Family Friendly Libraries, pointed out that contrary to ILA claims; Internet filters in fact save citizens money. "The claim that libraries simply cannot afford to install filtering software is misleading because once a library filters its Internet, it becomes eligible for federal funds under the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) – an average of $17,000 per library system.  Financially, libraries come out ahead in the long run," she explained. "The real issue is that these associations oppose pornography filters, period."